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Instaclustr open sources Shotover data layer proxy

The DBaaS vendor looks to enable developers to control and manage the flow of data from one data service to another with open source Shotover system.

Cloud data services provider Instaclustr today said it is open sourcing the Shotover data layer proxy project.

Instaclustr, based in Redwood City, Calif., provides users with a series of different database-as-a-service (DBaaS) options, including PostgreSQL, Apache Cassandra and Redis.

The Shotover data layer proxy technology is a data layer proxy that helps control the management and flow of database requests. Organizations can also use Shotover to route requests so data from one database can be cached or queried effectively in another.

Instaclustr has been working on Shotover internally for the past two years and has now decided to advance the project by making it available as an open source platform. As an open source project, the goal is to spur wider use as well as contributions to further develop the data layer proxy.

Among the organizations looking to use the Shotover technology is communications and collaboration platform services provider PubNub, based in San Francisco. PubNub currently uses Instaclustr to host its Cassandra database.

Dara Kong, staff software engineer at PubNub, said that with Instaclustr's support, PubNub is processing data amounting to 21 petabytes per month and delivering messages through its global messaging layer in less than 40 milliseconds.

Kong said Shotover is a useful technology that helps application developers use multiple databases effectively.

Too often, an application or service designed and built with one database in mind will evolve to take on new use cases -- for which a different database approach is clearly more appropriate.
Dara KongSoftware engineer, PubNub

"Too often, an application or service designed and built with one database in mind will evolve to take on new use cases -- for which a different database approach is clearly more appropriate," Kong said.

How Shotover data layer proxy helps organizations

Kong said that traditionally, developers would have to deploy the same applications or services to several different databases. He said Shotover is beneficial because it cleans up that redundancy

Shotover functions as a database proxy that enables PubNub to separate out data infrastructure from applications and services.

"With Shotover, our developers don't have to change application code or business logic to use data however they like," Kong said.

PubNub plans on deploying Shotover alongside the Redis database service to help optimize its data architecture. Kong said that PubNub's developers will appreciate the ability to eliminate weeks of work associated with rewriting their applications to accommodate database changes.

"The benefits of Shotover promise to be potentially transformative for us from a developer time and efficiency perspective," Kong said.

Why Instaclustr is open sourcing the Shotover data layer proxy

Instaclustr CTO Ben Bromhead said the vendor had been looking at concepts around a data layer proxy for some time, working on Shotover, in various guises, for the past two-and-a-half years.

"With the introduction of a number of new databases that we now support and the level of use cases and challenges we need to support with each one, it really felt like the right time to start working on the project more earnestly," Bromhead said. "The need became increasingly clear to bring the new capability to our platform and reduce operations burdens as we grow our business."

By making Shotover available as open source, Bromhead said he is expecting to build a community around the technology that will enable Instaclustr to grow the technology faster.

"Open source is in our DNA and being able to open up a project that is pretty core to our infrastructure -- and also one that is easy for others to use -- is another way of being a good open source community citizen," Bromhead said.

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